Recently voters in Washington D.C. voted for Initiative 77. The vote was not particularly close: 55% voted for the initiative and 45% voted against it. The initiative changes minimum wage laws in the District two ways. First, it increases the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020 and then boosts the minimum wage by inflation after that. Second, the initiative slowly increases the minimum wage for tipped employees so that by 2026 they receive the same minimum wage as any other worker. Continue reading
The latest jobs report has gotten a lot of analysts, policymakers and talking heads once again asking whether the U.S. is at full employment.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on May 4 that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, which is the lowest level since December 2000. The unemployment rate includes anyone 16 or older who is actively searching for work in its calculation, which means students, retirees and others not in the labor force are excluded. Continue reading
Each year in September, the U.S. Census Bureau releases a report showing how income and poverty have changed over time. The most recent report, which came out on Sept. 13, was filled with great news. Compared with the previous year, average inflation adjusted income soared 5.2 percent. The U.S. poverty rate fell 1.2 percentage points, resulting in 3.5 million fewer people living in poverty. Even the number of people without health insurance fell by 4 million people in the past year.
While these statistics got the headline attention they deserve, there is one piece of great news in the report that hasn’t attracted as much attention but is just as important. The gap between women’s and men’s earnings shrank to a new record low. The median woman working a full-time year-round job now earns 80 percent of the median earnings given to men working full-time. Continue reading
Tipping is widespread across North America. People tip taxicab drivers, hair dressers and hotel doormen. However, the place where the most people tip is in restaurants and bars. The problem for many customers is that tipping is confusing since tipping rules are not clear and payments are arbitrary. Many people agree the “standard” tip is 15%. However, on what amount do you tip 15%? Is it the total bill? Is it the total bill excluding tax? Is it the total food bill, with expensive bottles of wine tipped at a separate rate? Many people agree the tip rate for large groups should often be higher, but how many people comprise a “large” group? Most importantly, tipping means doing math, which is a difficult task for some people and a challenging task after drinking alcohol in a bar or restaurant. Continue reading